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Innovation Academy



Innovation Academy is the biggest public-private educational partnership among organizations from private, academic, public and NGO sector in Bulgaria. The project develops student entrepreneurial skills and supports financially their first business ideas. It will be held in a hackathon form for tenth consecutive year in 2023, where Bulgarian students will create their fist business projects and prototypes.


The main goal of the Innovation Academy is to become an outsourced centre for shared knowledge between the Bulgarian Universities following the Ivy League Universities innovation centres model.

Historically the project has started in 2014 with a partnership with 1 university in the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia and in 2022 it will be nationwide with a partnership with 14 universities and educational centres.

  • 2014 – 220 (NBU, SU)
  • 2015 – 541 (NBU, SU, UNWE)
  • 2016 – 583 (NBU, SU, UNWE, AUB, MUS)
  • 2017 – 600 (10 universities)
  • 2018 – 650 (10 universities)
  • 2019 – 700+ (11 universities)
  • 2020 – online edition 812+ (14 universities)
  • 2021 – hybrid edition 350+ (14 universities)
  • 2022 – 380+ (14 universities)


The project contains 3 main modules – 1) mentorship, 2) knowledge creation by a session panel and materials for successful idea realization 3) development of entrepreneurial and innovation skills during prototyping phase.


More than 4680 participants and more than 737 teams has been trained up to now with more than 15% entrepreneurial ideas such as leARn, Vodoraslo, Vendy+, CheatBurger, HealthIt, EduBots, Your Sofia, CityIT, Adventure Squad, ParkNShare, StudyHub, Space Division, HubGround, OSimplants, WomanIcer, Plant Tube, etc. Some of the speakers of the event have been international guests such as: Charles Landry, the author of the creative city concept, Anthony Christov, former art director at Pixar, Lindsy Szilvasi, Innovation Space Manager in Google and many others.



The 2023 Prize Fund Consists of:

In addition we provide an opportunity for one year-long mentorship and inclusion in the accelerator programme of Innovation Starter Accelerator and an additional prize from the Innovation Starter team for a humanitarian project addressing the refugee crisis. Gifts and consolation prizes will be awarded by other main project partners.

Key partners of the Academy are: The Representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria, European Investment Bank, Sofiyska Voda part of Veolia, Aurubis Bulgaria, Nestle Bulgaria, Coca Cola Bulgaria.

Facebook event page

General Terms for Participation


  • Award by the Ministry of Economy of Republic of Bulgaria: National Winner in the European Entrepreneurial Awards Contest 2019.
  • Award by the Ministry of Economy of Republic of Bulgaria: National Runner-up in the European Entrepreneurial Awards Contest 2017
  • Award by the European Commission for a project investing in entrepreneurial skill in students in Bulgaria: 2016 and 2019